Acheh, 23 Juni 2005
Assalamu'alaikum wr wbr.
THE SHOOTING OF A FOREIGN RED CROSS WORKER BY INDONESIAN SECURITY FORCES
Acheh - SUMATRA.
WE CONDEMN IN STRONGEST TERMS THE SHOOTING IN WEST ACHEH LAST NIGHT OF A FOREIGN RED CROSS WORKER BY INDONESIAN SECURITY FORCES
Acheh-Sumatra National Liberation Front, Military Central Command, The Commander-In-Chief. Press release 22.06.05
We condemn in strongest terms the shooting in West Acheh last night of a foreign Red Cross worker by Indonesian security forces.
Of course, the Indonesian military points the finger at GAM. But that's exactly the goal of the shooting. A few moments of clear thinking make clear why that is.
While GAM and the Acehnese are overjoyed to finally have a long-term foreign presence in Acheh, the Indonesian government and its military are horrified. They want the foreign money for their usual profiteering but they don't want the foreigners themselves. Inevitably, the foreigners get mixed up in all the political goings-on. They internationalize the conflict by their presence. God forbid, they may even like GAM!
Within days of the tsunami, the Indonesian government and its military were already talking about when the foreigners should leave.
The Indonesian government set a deadline for the withdrawal of foreign troops. The Achehnese and GAM and foreign governments asked that the troops remain. They were forced to leave.
Then the Indonesian government set a deadline for the withdrawal of most NGOs. The Achehnese, GAM, foreign governments opposed any deadline. Most of the NGOs had to go.
For the past few months, the Indonesian government and its military have been constantly imposing greater and greater restrictions and bureaucratic red tape on the well-meaning people who are here to help Acheh. The Indonesia military wants to control the freedom of movement of these pesky foreigners; GAM and the Achehnese want them free to move about as they please.
Foreign aid workers travel daily on the 200 km road from the capital to Meulaboh, in West Aceh. In Acheh's most devastated tsunami areas, foreigners now hear directly the bitter feelings Achehnese hold toward the Indonesian security forces. For the first time, large numbers of the international community have learned for themselves why Achehnese want Indonesia to leave and why they overwhelmingly support GAM.
When the giant waves came surging in across the coastal areas of north and west Acheh, devouring whole towns and villages, Achehnese believed Judgment Day had come. But soon they looked up to see American and other foreign helicopters criss-crossing the sky and they felt something almost as dramatic: deliverance. For the Achehnese, this deliverance was not simply rescue from hunger, but a long-dreamed-for international shield against decades of tsunami-like Indonesian violence.
For months, foreign NGO workers in Acheh have feared the sort of shooting by Indonesian security forces that just occurred. Kopassus and other special Indonesian units are notorious for this sort of 'black operation'.
In sum, shoot the foreigner and blame GAM. Kill two troublesome birds with one stone.
Central Military Command